Sunday, 2 December 2012

My heroes

My heroes
1 December 2012

So I took my kids to the Noddy party the other night, and they always have a little moral story for the kids.  A lesson and a purpose to all the fun and merriment.  And I remember at one point Mr Plod asked the kids who their hero is.  And it got me thinking, who is my hero?  Who do I look up to?  Who has inspired me the most?  Who do I look to when times get tough and I need a pick-me-up.  Someone that makes me carry on.  That one person, that made me sit back and think “WOW!!!”.  And it’s actually quite simple – there is no one person.  Instead there are very many.  Having just one hero would actually be quite one dimensional I think.  Because we all know that people are flawed and rightly so.  It stands to reason that one should take inspiration and snippets of wisdom from a variety and wide spectrum of people.  Sort of take the best bits if you like.  The more you take in from as wide a source as possible, the better.  And we do all try to continually better ourselves, don’t we?  So, I thought I’d make a little list of people that have inspired me, that I have looked up to and that have influenced me – for whatever reason.  And to make it more fun, I thought I’d state the reason for their hero-status too.

So in no particular order, here goes:

·         Riaan Cruywagen – he made me realise that if something worked for you and made you feel good – just go with it.  His beloved toupee clearly rocked his world and rightly so.  It’s like his signature look – never a hair out of place, never a change in colour.  He embraced it and made it his own.  I pretty much get the same warm fuzzy feeling from my black eyeliner.  Apart from my kids, photo’s, home video’s and computer hard drive, it’s what I’d grab in a rush if my house went up in flames.

·         Johan Stemmet – that dude was equally brave in wearing those hideous loud shirts.  And he actually turned it into his trademark and big up to him for doing it too.  I NEVER watch the programme – Scout’s honour, but can state with unequivocal clarity, that I would be hugely disappointed if I happened to be flicking the channels and came across an image of him dressed in a dull or dreary fashion.

·         Madiba – our rainbow King.  I know it sounds so jaded.  He is this icon to many and has been put on a pedestal.  Saying that I admire him might come across cheesy.  Like a beauty pageant finalist wanting world peace.  Yet I truly mean it.  What a forgiving spirit and heart.  He unified us, when everyone thought we were beyond help.  He made us all one and gave hope to so many.  He is gracious and kind and to me at least, his intelligence, excellent inter-personal skills, compassion and love of people always shone through.

·         Teachers – I pay huge tribute to them for all that they do for our children.  An underpaid and thankless task in many ways.  If they have a true calling for teaching and a passion for kids they can change a child’s life – forever more.

·         Doctors and nurses – caring for sick people simply can’t be fun.  Yet there they are, doing their best to ease pain and suffering.  Ever patient, kind and helpful.  Sadly nursing staff are underpaid too.  Some doctors do exceptionally well for themselves, whereas those in public medicine at provincial hospitals and the like, don’t share the same financial rewards.

·         My many, many friends – old school friends, varsity friends, teacher friends, new friends, friends-of-my-kids-parents-friends, Chatterbox friends, Happy Days friends, Beaumont friends, PV friends, friends-from-extra-murals-friends.  So very many friends that I have.  I admire so many of them.  It truly amazes how freely people give of themselves.  Many do charitable work, some foster children, some kangaroo-care, some have a passion for animals, some for those less fortunate.  It is inspiring the way they care.  Their selflessness.  Most of these friends are parents too, and I fill my little parenting manual from tips that I’ve gleaned from watching them with their kids.  Learning and expanding myself is just so cool. 

·         My Dad – he faced his illness and approaching death with dignity and humility.  Never complaining.  Never depressed or morose.  No ranting or raving at the cruelty of it all.  Not even whinging about pain.  He was accepting and gracious and made his passing all that much easier on us.

·         My Ouma Cathy – she was an austere and sometimes frightening lady.  Staunch Afrikaans.  A perfectionist who found fault with lots and was hard to please and sometimes hard to love.  I knew that she always loved us, but she made life difficult for herself and those around her.  And then somehow she mellowed and became soft.  Perhaps it was due to age and the resulting softening with it.  Perhaps it was due to the loss she suffered when she lost her son, my Dad.  I’m unsure of the real reason why – except that it happened.  And though I’ve always loved her and in many ways am like her, I’ve come to love her more now.  I cherish time spent with her.  She will always be who she is, but she’s become even better.  How marvellous it is to see that people really can change and very often do.

·         My Mom – the love I have for her surpasses mere words.  She is my best friend, my confidant, my greatest alley, my Mom.  She is wise and kind.  She is fun and quirky.  She is completely unique and a tonic to be around.  She has also suffered great loss and has lived through a lot, yet she chooses to reflect joy back into the world.  She has an amazing capacity for love, that embraces so many.  She is truthful and honest.  Is capable of both empathy and sympathy.  She’s silly and an oddball at times – just like me, I suppose.  I know everyone says that “my mom is the best mother in the whole world”.  Bollocks, I say – it’s actually mine.  My Mom really is the best and I beg any of you to disagree.  And if you do disagree, know this – I swing a mean left hook.  Just saying.

·         My twisted Sista’s – I find them so inspiring.  They’re moms and women – just like me.  Yet they’re all driven and have careers and jobs too.  They’re go-getters and make life happen.  They’re not mere witnesses to life, they’re actively partaking in it.  They’re all raising families, being wives, working and support causes.  They all have kindness in their hearts and look out for others.  Above all, they’re just so wonderfully real.  No airs or graces.  Just simple, humble and down to earth.  Chicks who don’t take themselves too seriously either – who enjoy a good laugh, even at their own expense.  They’re witty and funny and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, if I ever was in need – they’d have my back.  They’d look over my children and care for them too.  Enveloping them in all that they have.

·         My Foefie – my blood sister.  The other half of my heart.  And though we’re a continent apart, she’s with me all of the time, and so I believe that I’m with her too.  We don’t chat all of the time, yet I know that she’s there.  She unlocks a part of me whenever we’re together.  Even if that together is just over the phone.  I love her madly and passionately, vehemently if you like.  Perhaps part of it comes from being older than her.  Maybe not.  Maybe it’s just the magic that’s us.  How lucky are we?

·         My brother, whom I fondly call Dude – he is genuinely one of the nicest people I know – on the planet if you like.  An awesome friend to have.  He’s fought his own demons and come out whole on the other side.  A better person.  More rounded and complete.  He will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Young or old, rich or poor.  Irrespective of their station in life, how important they are, how very ordinary they are.  Humble and gentle.  He doesn’t do the whole superstar thing.  He’s grounded and has his feet firmly placed on the ground.  He dreams big and works toward goals and it’s just so inspiring watching him on this journey.  He’s mapped it all out and is following a path.  He is seeing the end picture and is working towards getting there.  He is not scared of hard work and knows it will take time.  But he’s willing to be patient and has his eye on the end reward and knows it will be worth it.  I watch with bated breath in anticipation, because I know he will get there.  It is just a question of how long it takes.

·         My brother-in-law, Robin – not very many people will take a third chance on a love.  Loving can be painful and is a risky business.  Putting your heart out there is scary.  Yet, at the age of forty, after two failed marriages, which weighed heavily on him, he decided to go for broke and took a chance on love once more.  With a wisp of a girl, only twenty years old.  With a girl who hadn’t lived long enough and was still so very young.  Inexperienced.  The odds were stacked against them.  The dice was loaded.  But he loved her with a passion, and still does to this day.  And luckily for him, she loved him right back.  Despite two ex-wives in the picture, who would forever more be in their lives, and three gorgeous kids.  She loved him right back.  And thirteen years and one little baby girl later, what a good choice they made.  Because fighting for love, is just so worth it.  Besides which, who else can say that they have Robin Auld performing at their family Xmas concert?  Me!!!!!

·         My three beautiful children – their exuberance and joy inspire me.  And though they are getting older each day, they still have so much to experience.  They inspire me to be the very best mother they could ever have.  To love them with all of my heart.  To be fair to them, to guide them, to care for them.  So that just perhaps, one day, if I’m very, very lucky, they too will say “my mom is the best mother in the whole world”.  Imagine that?

·         My Grantie – my husband.  The marvel of a marriage surprises me sometimes.  After nearly 23 years how come I’m not bored with him yet?  Still I learn new things every day.  Thoughts that he’s shared, experiences he retells.  And somehow or another, we’re some of the lucky ones.  We’ve managed to grow together.  I know for a fact that I’m not the same starry eyed girl he met two weeks after her 17th birthday.  For one thing, the figure is no more.  The “looks” are fading fast.  Yet he loves me back and accepts me for who I am.  It’s a continual learning curve as we grow together.  It’s not all moonshine and roses, because he can make me so mad.  Just as I drive him dilly too.  There are days when I contemplate suffocating him with a pillow in his sleep.  But I’d miss him too much.  He’s my Grantie and I can’t even begin to contemplate a life without him.  I’ve been with him for longer than I’ve been without him.  And after all of this time, I am lucky to say, the love is still there.

·         My aunts and my uncles – they’ve always supported me in all that I’ve done.  They prove what a family should be.  Always there, always interested, always caring.  I’ve often gone to them for advice and what greater source?  They’re all educated and interesting people.  Knowledgeable on a variety of topics.  They have my best interests at heart and always advise me well.  In a sense I’ve almost grown up with them, as my folks were so young when they started a family.  My youngest uncle, Willem always felt like a brother and I feel we have a very special bond.  Only 7 years apart in age.  But then again, I feel that I have a special bond with all of them.  They’ve known me as a baby and a toddler too.  They saw me as a little girl and then a bigger girl.  And now I’m a woman and they’ve grown with me too.  Accepting and loving my nuclear family as well.  What a privilege to have them so close.  Our contact is regular and our bond is so strong.

·         My fabulous grandparents – the most amazing testament to marriage and true love.  They are a joy to watch together.  The love they share runs so deep.  They have raised five fabulous children and have played pivotal roles in the lives of all 12 their grandchildren too.  Throughout my life, wherever I’ve been, whatever I’ve done – they’ve been a constant.  Always there.  I can close my eyes and just picture them so well.  And I’d bet my bottom dollar, that right this very minute, Oupa Willem is sitting in front of his computer, busy with some or other little project.  Most probably printing and resizing pictures or some such.  Every now and then he’d look across to his two faithful dogs, always at his side, lean down and scratch an ear.  Then he’d say “Oh Buddie – voertel.  And Bessie – die mooiste hond in die hele wereld”.  Then he’d glance across to my Ouma Helene and say “Miesies, hoe lyk dit met ‘n koppie tee?”.  He’d get up, walk over, bend down and give her a kiss before walking to the kitchen to put the kettle on.  All the while his dogs at his feet.  And my Ouma Helene?  What would she be doing?  Well she’s a busy one I tell you.  I can picture her doing lots.  Perhaps right now, she’s in the garden, admiring her veggie patch, leaning down to inspect her latest crop of beans or tomatoes.  Or she’s in her rose garden, bending down to pull out some stubborn weeds.  Maybe she’s got a hand deep in her Doll’s house adjusting some little treasure that needs to look just so.  Maybe she’s lying on her bed, newspapers strewn all around.  Glasses perched on the edge of her nose.  Maybe a novel instead or a historical book – she’s very fond of those.  Or perhaps she’s perched in front of her computer too.  Perhaps doing the minutes of the meeting for their Study group.  Or tweaking her notes for the book on the Doll’s House.  Maybe she’s doing some research about a new historical topic for their study group.  She’s never still.  She has many friends and keeps in contact with all of us.  She’s a dab hand at the computer and e-mail and corresponds with many friends all over the world.
So, given a bit of hindsight, my list of heroes is rather large.  And though many of these heroes are family and some friends, there are many more not even mentioned here.  People who’ve stood out.  For what they’ve done.  For who they are.  For what they believe in.  For being themselves.

I thank you all, from the bottom of heart.  You keep me inspired and give me hope.  You make me try and be better.  You make me want to live up to the example you’ve set.  And I’ll try and do justice to all I have learnt from you.



1 comment:

  1. You know that you are a hero in my eyes too!! Love you lots!